2020 a record-setting year for golf

Can the momentum keep rolling in 2021?
A golfer hits out of a bunker with the clock tower in the background at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Southern Hills Country Club will host the 2021 Kitchenaid Senior PGA Championship and 2022 PGA Championship.

2020 was a record-setting year for the golf industry.

The latest 2020 National Golf Performance Report from Golf Datatech, a leading market research firm, indicates that 2020 rounds soared by 13.9 percent over 2019, and equipment sales increased by 10.1 percent from 2019. These numbers are the largest growth year-over-year since Golf Datatech began tracking data in 1998. (View the full report)

The previous largest increase in rounds was 5.7 percent in 2012. The 10.1 percent increase in equipment sales edged out the previous high of 10.0 percent in 2005. 

Favorable weather and golf's ability to work with the pandemic's social distancing protocols led to the spike. Now the question becomes: Is it sustainable?

It's not probable but possible. The vaccine roll out has started slowly, meaning golf could continue to be the only recreation available in many places. Working from home continues to be the norm, allowing flexibility for weekday and afternoon rounds. A major wild card, as it always is: The weather.

There is evidence that the surge welcomed new players outside the game's traditional demographics (women and younger millennials). If their appetite to play remains strong, avid players won't have to carry the load themselves.

Will you play more or less in 2021? Is buying new equipment still on your to-do list? Let us know in the comments below.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
4 Comments
Commented on

Ordered new irons and metals this week. I plan to play 200+ rounds this year. OH! I am retired so its easy to play almost daily.

Commented on

I played over 100 rds in upstate New York in 2020 aided by playing almost every day of 4 weeks of being furloughed. While that number may be tough to repeat I will certainly try ! Also just received a new set of irons I ordered and plan on adding a couple other clubs

Commented on

I will definitely be playing more golf in 2021 and also I’m currently making equipment changes for new clubs this year.

Commented on

I expect to play at least twice a week as a minimum which is what I did in 2020 and just recently purchased a new set of irons. I will be in the market for some new accessories
this year.

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2020 a record-setting year for golf